Posted November 02, 2012 on AP on Fox
(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) By PETE IACOBELLI AP Sports Writer South Carolina running back Kenny Miles sees the same desire, the same drive, the same focus from the Gamecocks, even with tailback Marcus Lattimore on the sidelines. The 11th-ranked Gamecocks (7-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) have a much-needed week off before closing out league play at home against Arkansas on Nov. 10. Miles, a senior, will start in place of Lattimore, the star tailback who was lost for the season after a gruesome knee injury last week against Tennessee. Lattimore dislocated his right knee and had severe ligament damage, an injury coach Steve Spurrier said would likely need more than one surgery to repair. Losing a leader and team captain like Lattimore is a blow, Miles said. But the Gamecocks have made it through this storm before, going 5-1 after Lattimore tore a ligament in his left knee midway through the 2011 season. ''It's definitely a tough situation,'' said Miles, the team's leading rusher in 2009, the season before Lattimore arrived. ''But we've still got the pieces, still got the people, still got the coaches. We're focused and ready to go.'' Lattimore, though, remains in the Gamecocks' thoughts. Tight end Justice Cunningham has worn Lattimore's No. 21 at practice this week as a tribute, the way he's done with other injured teammates this year. ''Just to love for the boys,'' Cunningham said. Lattimore is the team's leading rusher with 662 yards and 11 touchdowns. His two primary backups this season, Miles and freshman Mike Davis, have 306 yards and two touchdowns combined. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said it was important for the players not to dwell on Lattimore's absence during the team's workouts during the bye week. He says the focus has been on what went wrong on the field in the 38-35 victory over Tennessee and not about who won't be with them the rest of the way. ''I think the kids came out focused,'' Ward said. ''We've watched the game tape and showed them the mistakes we made and showed them the places we can get better. I think they came out with a great mentality.'' It's hard to erase the memory of Lattimore's gruesome injury for anyone who watched it happen or saw him sobbing in pain and disappointment last Saturday. Several players, including Miles, took part in a rally of support on campus for Lattimore this past Monday, the tailback's 21st birthday. The support has stretched across the SEC, from Tennessee's players walking out to wish him well as Lattimore lay hurt on the turf to players like Auburn' running back Tre Mason and LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery dedicating their performances to the South Carolina runner. That's no surprise, said Auburn coach Gene Chizik, who befriended Lattimore in the recruiting process and found a well-rounded, level-headed person who cared about the right things - people, academics, faith and football. ''He's a different guy,'' Chizik said. ''I think that he's not only a tremendous football player on the field, he's probably a better person off the field.'' Spurrier announced to a crowd of more than 1,000 at the rally Monday that Lattimore told him he'd be back on the field. Right now, though, Spurrier's concerned with getting ready for Arkansas by tightening up his team's pass defense and building on quarterback Connor Shaw's career showing. Tennessee's Tyler Bray riddled the Gamecocks' usually solid defense for 381 yards and four touchdowns through the air. It took Jadeveon Clowney's strip of Bray and a fumble recovery with the Vols inside South Carolina's 20 in the final two minutes to secure the game. Shaw, benched for the second half against Florida a week earlier, threw for a career high 356 yards and three TDs. Shaw was in a walking boot with foot sprain, but Spurrier expected him to be ready for full practice next week. Spurrier knows Lattimore's presence, style and ability make him hard to forget. In time, Spurrier believes Lattimore will again perform on the field whether it's for the Gamecocks or in the NFL. ''As we know, doctors can do miracles these days putting knees back together,'' Spurrier said. ''We hope that happens.'' He's got the Gamecocks pointed on the rest of the season, one they'll again finish without their leader in the backfield. ''It's happened, now we've got to move on,'' Spurrier said.

Marcus Lattimore receiving outpouring of support following gruesome knee injury

South Carolina junior running back Marcus Lattimore was one of the biggest stud running backs in the nation last season.  He ended 2010 as the SEC’s Freshman of the Year, an All-SEC first team selection and as second-team All American.  Last season he was off to a rip-roaring start with ten touchdowns and a 5.0 yards per carry average through South Carolina’s first seven games...

Marcus Lattimore and the Problem with College Football

There now appears to be 4 teams in the hunt for the BCS title. Kansas State who continues to dominant Big 12 competition behind the leadership of Collin Klein and Bill Snyder. Notre Dame whose dominance on defense is second only to Alabama. Oregon who continues to score at a Playstation clip. And the reigning champ in Alabama who appears to be invincible. However, the topic this...

Steve Spurrier takes shot at Clemson

When asked to comment on Dabo Swinney's kind words regarding Marcus Lattimore's knee injury, Steve Spurrier used the opportunity to take a shot at the Tigers.

Expectations for the 2012-2013 Gamecocks Basketball Team

The South Carolina Gamecocks men's basketball team is in a rebuilding phase for the 2012-2013 season. The squad has a new coach in Frank Martin with many new faces to go along with a new scheme. So what are the expectations for the Gamecocks in 2012-2013? Well, here is some thoughts... As you could see in the recent defeat of Kentucky Wesleyan by the score of 68-67 in an...

Practice Report: Spurrier opens up

Steve Spurrier talked on a variety of topics after Wednesday's practice for the Gamecocks. See what Coach Spurrier thought was the success to Connor Shaw's performance against Tennessee and more.

CFB Rumors: Did Steve Spurrier Come Off As Classless Responding To Dabo Swinney About Gamecocks RB Marcus Lattimore?

What was originally thought to be a classy gesture by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley who, is not only the first woman to serve as Governor of the The Palmetto State, but also a graduate of the Clemson Tigers, has turned into another war or words between Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier and Tigers coach Dabo Swinney. While Swinney was wrong last year after responding negatively...

The NFL and NCAA Conspired to Screw Marcus Lattimore

A week after watching him suffer one of the most gruesome and devastating injuries I've ever witnessed, I'm finally reading good news about Marcus Lattimore. The University of South Carolina star is out of the hospital and back on campus, and the updated injury report (dislocated knee, ligament damage) is a night and day improvement from the original prognosis (broken femur...

LSU’s Sam Montgomery to honor Marcus Lattimore by wearing his number on his arm

This has to be one of the classier moves that I have heard about from the college football world.  Montgomery is one of the best defensive ends in the country and is currently ranked 12th on Mel Kiper’s Big Board for the draft.Both hailing from South Carolina, Montgomery considers Marcus Lattimore to be a “dear friend” and will write his number on some tape on his arm for...
College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.